June 20, 2004

Mike Damon's Folsom to Reno Ride

After a wonderful night of recovery and reminiscing on the fine moments with
the Mayors on Monday, my hosts treated me to a great meal and sent me on my
way. From Pollock Pine (35 miles east of Folsom), the route dropped along Sly Park down to Jenkenson Lake. After losing about 1000 hard earned feet of elevation from the day before, Morman Emigrant Trail Road took off to the east. Here's where the fun began. From the lake to the intersection of Hiway 88 is 30 miles. The road is beautiful...great pavement, tremendous views out toward the snow capped peaks of the Sierras, and wide shoulders. Traffic? What traffic.
In the entire 30 miles you can count the number of cars that pass you on two
hands. But here's the catch. For 30 miles there's no water, no facilities,
no campgrounds, no houses, and pretty much for the entire distance, you are
climbing. Not steep, but the climbing seems endless. You're out there!
It's a wonderful feeling to realize that you are so dependent on what you
carry with you to make the distance. Emigrant Trail seems like a fitting
name, as you can imagine the early emigrants crossing the mountains with
equally minimal support.

I ran out of water after about 15 miles as the temperatures rose to close to
90 degrees. Finally, about 25 miles out, I found a small trickle of water
and stopped to cool down, and in desperation, fill the water bottles. A
risk without a filter, but it seemed justified under the circumstances.
After a few more miles, I reached the top of the ridge at 8000 feet, where I
also saw my favorite sign..."Trucks Use Low Gear" , followed by a short drop
down to Hiway 88.

There was no relief when I finally reached Hiway 88, which was to be the
corridor over the Sierras. After reaching the hiway, it's still another 10
miles of climbing until a 1000 foot descent into Silver Lake, and the first
bit of civilization for the day. And civilization came in the form of an
ice cream bar and a soda. Boy did that hit the spot!

Silver Lake

After Silver lake, 88 continues to climb until the pass is finally reached
at 8575 feet.

From here there's a great view to the east and west, a fitting reward after
nearly 50 miles of climbing. To the south, some cumulous clouds were
developing. No threat of rain, but they added contrast and scale to the
many peaks that formed the jagged skyline.

Carson Pass also rewards those who climb over it with a long descent out to
the Carson Valley. Once there, I was greeted by the traditional headwinds
as I plodded along for the last 50 or so miles north to Reno. There are
some great back roads here that keep you clear of traffic and offer a
continuous view of the rugged Sierras to the west and wind swept Pine Nut
Mountains to the east. I stopped in Genoa for yet another ice cream and a
brief rest in the city park. I finally reached Reno at 7:30, and met
friends from the Reno Wheelmen bicycle club who were racing in town. Sadly,
after 128 miles and about 8000 feet of climbing, I didn't quite have the
energy to join them!

The following day made for a great rest day. I went to the Mayor's office
and picked up the NBG proclamation to have with me for the meeting with the
Vice Mayor, Dave Aiazzi on Thursday.

I spoke with Don Loomis on Wednesday, and he informed me of his decision to
bypass Reno on his way to Salt Lake. He wasn't sure of the whereabouts of
Patrick on his unicycle, and we both expressed concerns for Patrick
venturing onto Mormon Emigrant Trail with a limited water supply. Don was
setting off with about 2 gallons, which figured to be just enough, and
hopefully he and Patrick would meet along the way. I wait anxiously for
news of their progress.

Mike Damon
President, Reno Wheelmen
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Posted by mkrieg at 01:10 PM | Comments (1)